Monday, April 5, 2010

True Story: My Mom Died When I Was 19

This is one of many interviews that make up the True Life series, in which we learn about amazing, intriguing people and the things that they've experienced. This is the story of Tyler, whose mom died of ovarian cancer while Tyler was a sophomore in college.

Tell us about your mom
Can I just say she was the best person ever and be done with this question? My mom was totally a soccer mom, but the cool kind, not the embarrassing kind. One time, when I was little, I was watching Rocko’s Modern Life on Nickelodeon, she came to watch with me for a minute. It was the episode where Rocko has to give a speech in front of a lot of people and they see that he has a giant piece of spinach between his teeth. My mom started laughing so hard she actually fell off the couch. It was delightful.

My mom threw totally awesome birthday parties and always insisted I pick abstract themes like “nature” and “springtime” and “imagination.” She taught me how to use chopsticks and how to tweeze my eyebrows and once sat me down just to discuss the way I drew hands and how to make them more realistic (we were always a very artsy family). She was also a Disney fanatic even as an adult, a trait she definitely passed down to all her children.

My mom was a stay-at-home mom but in the year or so before she got sick, she started a calligraphy business, doing wedding invitations and place cards. This past winter break, I was going through a box in the garage and found one of her calligraphy notebooks, where she’d copy quotes and names and things to practice each typeface. I opened on a page where she had written, “The time to be happy is now. The Place to be happy is here,” and I totally broke down.

How was your relationship with her?My mom and I were really close. I was always much more like her than like my dad, so hanging out with her was a bit like hanging out with an older, slightly different version of myself. We always liked to spend our time the same way. We liked interior design and Greek food and musty old bookstores. We used to watch What Not To Wear together and she’d complain her boring khaki’s-and-black-shirt “uniform” but I always liked how she dressed.

When I was in elementary school, sometimes she’d take me to Starbucks in the mornings and get a decaf tall skim latte for herself and steamed milk with vanilla for me and we’d find the comfiest chairs and sit together, reading the newspaper. She’d pass me the comics and save the arts section for herself. I loved these mornings. I felt so grown up and loved spending time with her. Even when she was sick, most of our time spent together consisted of watching game shows and yelling out the answers.

How old were you when you found out she was sick?
We found out my mom was sick the summer after my freshman year of college, so I had turned 19 a few months earlier (my birthday is in April). I have two younger sisters, and they were 17 and 14 at the time.

How long was she sick?
It took 8 months from my mom’s diagnosis to her death.

Since ovarian cancer doesn’t have noticeable symptoms in its early stages, we don’t know exactly when she got sick. She started complaining of bloating and pain in her lower abdomen towards the beginning of the summer of 2008. We took her to several different doctors, and they had a hard time figuring out the source of her pain. They wavered between thinking it was food poisoning or a gastrointestinal problem or even a broken rib. We had just moved, so we had been schlepping a lot of heavy boxes, and doctors thought she might have just overexerted herself. I had an internship that summer, and my dad picked me up one day, and while we were in the car, he got a call from the doctor recommending an oncologist. Shortly after that, she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, “the kind that you don’t want to have,” according to the doctor. They said she had three years to live.

A few months after her diagnosis, she had to go in for some surgery, and, as part of the pre-surgery process, they gave her a pregnancy test. Strangely, it came out positive. After some more work, the doctors decided that she actually had choreocarcinoma, which is a very rare cancer of the placenta that is curable in stage 4. We were all ecstatic.

Through the next several months, doctors started to think that maybe she didn’t have choreocarcinoma. Even now, they’re still not sure exactly what kind of cancer she had, which is really frustrating. When your mom dies, you want to know why.

Eventually, chemotherapy, radiation, and other drugs had reduced her to someone that that wasn’t my mom anymore. She was bald, weak, and thin, and a steroid medication she took made her face swell so her cheeks were puffy and sagging. She had severe neuropathy (like pins and needles that don’t go away) in her hands and feet, so she couldn’t even hold a pen. She walked with a walker and needed an oxygen machine to breathe. Her mind was fuzzy and she’d say things that didn’t make sense. I kept feeling like saying, “Mom! Snap out of it!”

My mom died two days after I got home for spring break my sophomore year of college. They say moms always wait for all their babies and it really seemed like my mom did just that. She had been in steady decline but didn’t die until all her children were in town.

Tell us about life immediately following her death.
We are Jewish, so the post-death process is very regimented. Jews have the funeral as soon as possible after the death and then they follow that with a shiva – basically a week-long period where family and friends visit the mourners and celebrate the life of the person who died with lots of food. Since my mom died in Florida and all of our family is from Chicago, we flew back to Chicago for the funeral and shiva.

Shopping for black clothes for the funeral was really weird. One of my sisters and I went to Forever 21, and we had to flick through the racks of cheerful, colorful stuff to find the few black items they had. What are you supposed to say when the salesperson asks you if you’re looking for anything in particular? It was bizarre.

The funeral was so surreal. I’m really emotionally guarded, so the funeral was the first time I had ever cried in front of people that weren’t my parents or sisters. It was liberating, in a way. The funeral itself went… well? I don’t know if that’s the right word. Lots of people showed up – so many that the funeral director had to house a group of them in another room with a TV showing the service. The eulogies were the perfect combination of sweet and sad. Some were funny, and the laughter felt right.

The shiva was so effective. It was like being swallowed up in a warm hug for a whole week. We stayed in my aunt’s (my mom’s older sister’s) house while family and friends came with delicious food. We made sure to include all of my mom’s favorite foods there, so we had takeout from Noodles & Company and Pita Inn. I spent most of the shiva hanging out with my cousins, laughing and playing board games and working on a gigantic family tree. The nicest times were when my mom’s childhood friends came with stories about her I’d never heard before. The worst was when an old friend’s father filled a lull in conversation by saying, “Wow, I just can’t believe she’s gone!”

How did you cope with her death?
I laugh! A lot! My sisters and I make jokes that make other people who aren’t in our situation very uncomfortable, but seriously, laughter is great medicine. I'm also an aspiring screenwriter, so I got a lot of inspiration for my writing from all that I've gone through. I did National Novel Writing Month last November, and I wrote a first draft of a memoir about my experiences. I also keep a blog that I started for a poetry class after I got back from the shiva. Writing, for me, is really cathartic.

In general, I’m unaffected by the overly death-oriented stuff. I don’t mind talking about my mom and I don’t immediately tear up when anyone mentions death. The things that get me the most are little things: hearing someone say a phrase she always said or smelling someone wearing her same perfume or seeing a mom talking to or playing with a little kid. Looking at photos of her was really difficult for a while. Our answering machine message is still her voice, and sometimes when I’m at school and I call home, I forget and all of a sudden she’s on the phone with me. I also dream about her all the time. Sometimes, in the dream, I know she died, but other times it’s like she never got sick.

Oh, and right after she died, I was petrified of waking up in the morning and forgetting she died and having to remember all over again, so I got in the habit of saying, in my head, every morning as soon as I woke up, “Mom is dead.” Sounds weird, but it was really helpful at the time.

How did you deal with friends/school/work while you were mourning?
I missed the first few weeks after spring break, and I was able to get caught up quite easily. Teachers are very agreeable when you have something so serious as an excuse. When my mom was still sick, she always encouraged me to use her illness as an excuse as often as I needed. Still, concentrating in class was harder than usual. My friends were great. The were extra extra nice to me when I got back from school, and two of them even brought me a picture of my mom and me that they had framed. The only hard thing with friends was that, lots of times, when I mentioned my mom offhand, I could sense them getting uncomfortable. Which is totally understandable! But it was still difficult – I didn’t want them treating me or my mom any differently than they had before she got sick.

Has her death affected your relationship with your dad or siblings?We were always a very close-knit family, and we still are. My sisters and I band together and make stupid dead-mom jokes and my dad cries at inopportune moments, but it’s all okay because we’re human. I occasionally feel pangs of guilt that I had my mom for longer than either of my sisters did, but they never complain about it.

Since my mom and dad were so different from one another, whenever my dad does something particularly Dad-ish now, it tends to frustrate me because it just emphasizes the fact that my mom is gone. Overall, though, we’re really doing well. We’re currently trying to spread the word about ovarian cancer. Breast cancer is the female cancer that gets all the press, but since ovarian cancer doesn’t manifest itself in symptoms until it’s too late (usually), we really want people to know to get their ovaries checked out.

What advice would you give to other young people dealing with a death in the family? Advice for friends of those experiencing grief?
For people who have friends experiencing grief, don’t treat your mourning friends too differently from how you treated them before the death. Maybe be a little more understanding, but don’t expect your friendship to change too much. When they bring up their loved one in conversation, don’t try to change the subject. If they make jokes about their situation, it’s okay to laugh. Also, don’t ever complain about your loved one who is still alive. Whenever my friends complain about their moms, I want to slap them.

For people with a death in their own families, you should know that there is no right way to grieve. Don’t look to anyone else for how you’re supposed to feel or what you’re supposed to do. Do whatever makes you feel good. Eat junk food or watch really funny movies or scream into a pillow. Don’t ever be afraid to laugh about the ridiculousness of it all. People might make you feel like laughing about death is wrong or shameful, but if it helps you cope, there’s no harm in it. If you ever feel hopeless, consider getting seeing a therapist. It might not feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but there is! Trust me!

Have any of you lost a parent or a loved one? Any questions for Tyler?

41 comments

  1. Very moving. I lost my Dad when I was 19. It is true that friends are weird when I mention him. It's like, I would still be talking about him if he was alive. But my Dad was hilarious and had a story about everything, so lots of things remind me of him.

    Great interview.

    ReplyDelete
  2. oh my.. sorry sista..

    ReplyDelete
  3. As someone who lost my Dad when I was 10—I'm now 16, for anyone who's curious—I really loved this. I found myself nodding all the way through; we too have our dead-dad jokes. :-)

    It's so wonderful that people can share these kinds of stories, and the internet is such an excellent tool for it—I've spent some time helping out a mailing list for grieving kids and teenagers and it's illuminating to see how common these experiences are, even across totally different contexts. And, maybe even more importantly, how normal those kids are; half the emails that come through, especially in the younger group, are about Hannah Montana or how old everybody is or where they live. School got in the way a while back and I haven't been able to be very active at all, but I'm hoping to get back to it soon, because it's so eye-opening to hear these kinds of stories, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have lost quite a few- spouse, grandparents, brother, friends...each death is different as well as the grief u experience.... tyler is right, treat the one going thru grief with ears that listen, don't treat them w/kid gloves, that I hated like I would break... she is lucky to have had a great relationship w/her mom... she will have that in her heart forever!. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for sharing...this was lovely and sad and wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great interview Sarah! This was so touching and I really appreciate Tyler's honesty and insight.

    ReplyDelete
  7. this was really touching. how long ago was it that you lost your mom, tyler?

    ReplyDelete
  8. My mom did when I was a sophomore in college and 20 years old. I agree about the slapping people who complain about their living relatives - sometimes I say something and they look at me like I'm playing a card I shouldn't. Except for the times it was funny, I regret ever being frustrated with my mom just because I was being an angsty teenager. I wish she'd call and nag me every day.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for this. I lost my Dad three weeks ago from a very rare and aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Grieving is a strange process. Each day is different and their are so many "firsts." Easter was difficult yesterday. I know what Tyler means when she says "Mom is Dead," because I do the same. To convince myself that my Dad was gone, I would say it as bluntly as I could in my head, "my Dad is dead." It's so strange. This interview couldn't have come at a better time. I keep saying that most people who know what I and my siblings are going through are twice our age. Cancer is such a horrible, horrible, degrading disease, and spreading the word about these little-known cancers is so important.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you so much for the comments, everybody! They've been making me smile all day.

    @brookem
    My mom died March 21, 2009, so we're a few weeks past the one-year mark. It's weird to think that one year ago, my mom was still dead, because I feel like I was just talking to her. We're finally past the onslaught of calendar firsts since she died (first birthday, first Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Mother's Day, etc.) but there are still all kinds of other firsts I wish she were here for.

    @Amanda
    I could not agree more! Especially about the "playing the card" thing. My mom dying has shaped how I am today so much that it feels natural to use it as an excuse or reason for lots of things.

    @Ashley!
    I am so glad to be able to help you feel better in any way. If you ever, ever need to talk, feel free to e-mail me at tylertot (at) gmail (dot) com. So many hugs to you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really appreciated reading this interview, especially since I actually know Tyler from high school. My dad died 3 weeks ago today from Renal (Kidney) Cell Carcinoma that spread to his spine. He's been sick since I was in 8th grade, stage 4 since sophomore year in high school, and in Hospice since last October. Reading about the process that Jewish people go through for the death of a family member is interesting, because we actually aren't having my dad's service until this Saturday because his family couldn't get out here until then. My friends are pretty good about it, but there are times when I wish they were more supportive and less weird about the whole thing. I think it's still a bit surreal for me, though, because every time I refer to what is now my mom's house I always say "my parents' house" by habit and then have to correct myself. Thanks for the interview.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You're a very strong person.
    I've never had a single person close to me pass away, and I'm scared to death for when it happens...

    This was written beautifully aswell.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I lost my mom in July of 2004 when I was 21 (and luckily home for summer break). She had a brain aneurysm and that was that. Even nearly six years on, it really helps to read other people's stories like Tyler's. Thank you for posting it :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I know what you mean about the friends..most of mine try to be understanding, but often the thing that gets me is when I say: "I miss my Mom," and faster than anything, they say. "i know." It feels like they are trying to stop me from saying anything else, or "I know, you don't have to tell me again." And it's kind of an inappropriate thing to say, because most of the time, you don't know, you know?

    One time I was talking about the idea of planning a wedding and how I would have no idea where to start. All of my girlfriends said "Oh, I'll just get my mom to do it." That sucked.

    Thanks for sharing your story. :) I too, tell dead mom jokes, and it's nice to know others don't think that's twisted! Or, at least, understand. I'm sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a beautifully candid interview. My mother-in-law is undergoing treatment for a second bout with breast cancer, so I've been dealing with this crazy mix of emotions lately. Hearing about your mom and how much you love her and how you honor her even still is strangely comforting. Thanks so much for your honesty and willingness to share.

    ReplyDelete
  16. My mum died when I was 9.

    I love your story, and I wish you the best of luck in the next few years, and well, for the rest of your life I suppose.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Having been through the same thing at 21, I found that despite the heart-wrenching sadness and despair, it was my responsibility to be understanding towards my friends who had never been through a bereavement. They did their best, they sometimes said ill-thought out things but I couldn't hold it against them. When you go through a trauma, you don't always, maybe even rarely, get the exact support you need. Now I know this I feel more realistic about what to expect in the future and what strengths I need to build up. Bereavement can make you feel alone in the world no matter how many people are surrounding you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. My Nana just died a week ago. It's good to know other people can make jokes and laugh afterwards - my boyfriend (who is ridiculous) made some remarks that at first I found amusing, but inappropriate. But he was just trying to make me laugh, and eventually, I did. It wasn't disrespect for my Nana, because I love her. There really is no proper way to react, is there?

    ReplyDelete
  19. I lost my dad when I was 23 and my grandmother died the night of his funeral (she also seemed to "wait" until all of her children were in town; it still baffles me). It sucked...majorly. Laughter was and still is the best medicine. I still find myself doing the "my dad is dead" thing, too.

    I also want to give Tyler a high-five for saying "don’t ever complain about your loved one who is still alive. Whenever my friends complain about their moms, I want to slap them."

    It's true. I can't stand to hear people talk badly about their fathers. Makes me want to slap them, too.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This was a very touching story. I got a little teary towards the end. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This was such a beautifully open and honest interview and I just want to thank you for it.
    I've had some loved one die: my 9-year-old cousin, my great-aunt who was like my grandmother, friends. Mourning is different for everyone and I have to say that friends talking less to you and also pretending nothing has happened is just the worst..

    ReplyDelete
  22. This isn't really the same thing but I've been going through the same grieving process since I had an abortion 18 months ago. Cue therapy, emotional eating, not eating, more than slightly insane behaviour at times. I still can't be around small babies and I still have bouts of craziness, but I'm getting there. Having such a traumatic experience and making it through the other side has made me realize that life does actually go on, even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it.

    My recommendation for people going through any kind of loss is to talk! Every time you say 'my mum is dead' or 'I had an abortion' out loud to somebody, it makes it real-er, and it gets easier every time.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This is so beautiful and sad, so I cry like a child right now.
    I wish you best of luck! You're really strong. You're mom looks so sweet and I'm sure you had very strong connection between you and her.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Tyler,
    I lost my mom to ovarian cancer when she was only 40 and I was 14. I am now 45. I loved reading about your mom and the kind of person she was and now will always be. Keep the memories of her with you, write as much as you can down. As the years go the memories begin to fade. You will always remember the really special moments but try and record the everyday moments too. My mom was everything to me, I had very little relationship with my dad when she died. For years I was angry, why her, why did she die so young. I lost my dad almost 4 years ago in the same month my mother died, July. What I realized even before my dad died was, G-d left me the right parent. My father rose to the occasion of raising 3 children. He became my one parent who I hung the moon on. My father was my father, not my mother, not my best friend. He taught us to survive and thrive. He helped us go on without her.

    I know how you feel. If I can be of any help, pls just let me know. I know your dad and he can reach me anytime.

    I too get upset when I hear people or friends complain about their moms but I don't get angry at them, they just haven't experienced what you have. What makes me sad is Mothers Day and all the mother/daughter things I never got to do.

    Love changes everything:
    Hands and faces,
    Earth and sky,
    Love,
    Love changes everything:
    How you live and
    How you die


    Love
    Can make the summer fly,
    Or a night
    Seem like a lifetime.


    Yes, Love,
    Love changes everything:
    Now I tremble
    At your name.
    Nothing in the
    World will ever
    Be the same.


    Love,
    Love changes everything:
    Days are longer,
    Words mean more.
    Love,
    Love changes everything:
    Pain is deeper
    Than before.


    Love
    Will turn your world around,
    And that world
    Will last for ever.


    Yes, Love,
    Love changes everything,
    Brings you glory,
    Brings you shame.
    Nothing in the
    World will ever
    Be the same.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Tyler,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story about your Mom. I also lost my Mom at 19 to breast cancer and am now 27 and still feeling the loss. Some days I want to hide and some days I want her back but know thats not possible. I felt like some part of me died when she did. We were so close me being an only child and my Dad traveling a lot my growth has shifted in and out of the light. I am on one of my down turns but fighting to want to be here and go on. It gives me comfort to know that we are all going through similar experiences. May love and light shine your way with our Moms wings guiding the way. Love Jeanine

    ReplyDelete
  26. Just found this post after reading Yes and Yes for nearly a year (must have come on board just after).

    I'm nearly 22 now and I lost my mom to brain cancer at 18. I can certainly relate to a lot of the story here. We knew my mom was sick for nearly four years but I'm not sure if that was a good or bad thing...

    She passed away JUST after my freshman year of college. Within two weeks of being home for summer she was gone. I'm glad I was able to see her again before she died, but at the same time my strongest memories of her are from those days (likely because I was older and able to remember more and because some of those moments and days were horrifying and terribly sad).

    When people mention death I think of her and I agree that one of the worst possible things for people to do is insult their moms or say they hate their mothers. I never went through that stage because in early high school I found out about my mom's tumor and after learning something like that you don't take a parent for granted.

    I, unfortunately, do not have a close relationship with my dad. We weren't close before and this pulled us apart (he got into a relationship a month after. I know he was incredibly lonely but in my mind there is no excuse for waiting just one teency month before trying to move on and distract yourself). However, my relationship with my sister has grown tighter and stronger.

    It's tough to lose a parent young, knowing what they'll miss (weddings, graduations, grandchildren) and I think it has forever changed the course/outlook of my life.

    Thank you for sharing your story as well.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Oh, and because I now find this a funny reaction (3 years later):

    Within two weeks of my mom passing away I was riding in a car with my (now) fiance and one of our guy friends. My fiance's mother called him and within 30 seconds of her hanging up our friend's mom called him. When they hung up my fiance turned to me and asked "What, is your mom going to call now?".

    He felt TERRIBLE at the time and it was incredibly awkward, but now we can laugh about it.

    It's sort of like saying my "parents' house" when now it's just my "dad's house". You're in a habit and even though you know that person is gone, for a while the rest of the world seems to keep moving as normal.

    Even after experiencing a close death I still have nothing good to say to others who also experience it. There just isn't anything to say. (although I don't recommend asking if that person called!).

    ReplyDelete
  28. I lost my mom April 19,2005 I was only 18 so I know how it feels she died of a brain anyerism not really sure how to spell it. But anyways to this day I still cry everyday for her I really miss her and all these yes I have felt like I need her more now then I did when she was alive. I love your story it really made me put a smile on my face.

    ReplyDelete
  29. My mom died a few weeks ago, August 24, 2011..4 days before my 21st birthday from a brain aneurysm. Even had lunch with her that day, she seemed just fine. It's just so weird not being able to talk on the phone with her anymore. Like just now, the phone rang and I look at the caller ID expecting it would be my mom, but nope.

    Finally had a dream about her last night. Dreamed that she wasn't able to call me was because she wasn't able to get cell phone service. But somehow in my dream I was wondering why my stepdad had her body (weird dream..sorry). Then I just wake up and feel sad.

    Though it's tough and a major shock going through all this, like I'm having to grow up so fast right now, I'm glad I have my brothers, my dad and my mom's siblings to help with the sadness. And making jokes and talking about her and the silly things she'd do and say, makes it a lot more comforting.

    ReplyDelete
  30. @Tyler, dear,
    You're mom sounds like such an amazing woman! It must be precious to know that you are both so similar. My heart goes out to you.

    @Anonymous,
    That big hole in your heart never seems to go away, does it? I grieved severely for over 5 years after my own momma died. Reading these blogs warms my heart, but the ache is still intense. I hope that you experience your feelings--don't hide from them. If it helps to write in a journal, or burn a letter, or sit in the sun to feel its warmth--then do it! But please, be gentle with yourself. I'm sure she would want you to show kindness & compassion towards yourself.

    As for me, my momma died in 1997. I was 24. We are always too young to be without a momma.
    I avoid letting other people know that she is dead by talking about her in the present tense. Plus, it reminds me that she is in my life as long as I keep her here in my life.

    My mother is such a warm, boisterous, outgoing person with the most wonderful cackle--she laughs like a witch on halloween! I'v managed to release most of the 'dying' & 'ill' memories of my mommy (I hate those images). They are still there, but don't intrude on my happier memories any more. These days, I get to ask myself questions, like "I wonder if Mom is proud of me," or, "Does Mom think I've made good choices in my life." Then I'm overwhelmed by the joy in my heart, just thinking of what her answers might be. I feel so close to her, so connected in these moments. Of course she is proud! Of course she loves me--she always has! I've made choices based on what is truely important to me. I'm doing the best I can in my life. I make an effort every day to be kind to...myself! And my momma wouldn't want it any other way.
    Cuz she's the best!
    :o)

    ReplyDelete
  31. My name is Emily and I'm 10. Last June my mom died after a long battle of leukemia. It was devastating. She was always there for me and when I was sick she would take care of me. She had a good sense of humor and she could make anyone laugh. The June in 2010 we were planning to go to South Carolina on the last day of school which was a half day. When we came home my uncle came because we were having a cook out, and we were having ribs. And I remember my mom didn't feel well and she was laying in bed. And she went to the doctors to see what it was. She thought it was lyme disease but the doctors told her to go to the hospital. And she stayed there for a day to test her blood and stuff to figure out what she had. The doctors figured out it was leukemia. So she had to stay there for a while to see what type she had. She had acute myloid leukemia. So she had to stay there for a month or so for chemo therapy. We always visited her almost everyday after school. After a long process of getting bone marrows, doctor visits, and some other stuff I forget. She stayed home for a while. Then she had to go back. And the doctors said there was nothing they can do so she was dying. But we still visited and she told us that horrible news and said she will be watching over us. We were so sad. But after a week or so they moved her to a different hospital and we slept over there on a weekend. And the doctor had a talk with us on how we felt. It was a sad time. Then we finally left that day. Then a few days my dad went to visit and when he came home that night he said "mom will be going to heaven tonight" I was crying so hard and so were my brother and sister. Then we had a funeral a few days later and we went to church and the funeral and a ceremony at the graveyard. It was so upsetting and sad. I miss her alot, and I wish I can be up there with her, but I have to wait like 80 years :( I wanna die.

    ReplyDelete
  32. My name is Kathy, I'm 20 and I am particularly moved by what you had to say. I lost my own mom only three weeks ago from LMS a rare cancer try found in her uterus. She was diagnosed in 2010 and died exactly two years later (to the date) on my little brothers birthday. I only foun out she was sick about a year ago. It's been so hard dealing with the grief. I had to go back to university a week after she died and it's difficult to concentrate.

    It's so nice to know that all that I'm feeling is normal. It's weird not having my mom around to help me through this because she's been the closest person to me my entire life. She was always very blunt about everything and didn't lead me on to believe she was going to recover and I'm glad she was so honest. We were so close especially since I was her only daughter. I stayed with her in the hospital countless nights; I helped her go to the bathroom or massage her swollen feet or anything. I didn't want to leave her alone in the hospital. If I didn't do it my dad would of stayed instead of course but I'm glad I could help her.

    Now that she's gone I have overwhelming amount of support from my family friends and boyfriend. But I hate when people pity me or when the moms of my friends try to "adopt" me since I'm now in a family of only boys. I appreciate the support I receive but there is no one in this entire world who will ever replace the person I lost.

    I'm taking things one day at a time. I'm moving back home after this semester to be with my dad. All us kids are either in college or have a job so he's all alone. I had such a great childhood growing up thanks to my mom and dad that I want to be there for my dad now during the most difficult time in his adult life. It's not the same, but at least we still have each other and my brothers.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thanks everybody who shared their stories. As another commenter said, it is comforting reading. My mother passed away 22 years ago, a few weeks before I turned 5. My dad was left to raise 4 children ages 1 to 6 years old on his own, and did an amazing job. It's not until now that I'm older that I realise just how tough it must have been for him. In a way I think I was "fortunate" to loose my mother when I was so young, because I didn't have all the memories and the connection an older child or teenager would have to their mother. On other hand, because I don't have those memories I will always wonder about her and what kind of person she was. What has bothered me the most, though, is how other people have avoided the subject, probably because they themselves have been uncomfortable with the situation. For instance, when I was in 5th grade and had just changed schools, my stepmother asked my new teacher to tell the students not to mention my mother because she was dead. She did this without asking me, I found out from a friend later, and it bothered me that my stepmother just assumed I didn't want to talk about mom, something I certainly didn't mind doing. It is still a conversation killer when people ask me about my mother and I tell them that she passed away in 1990.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I lost my Mom 22 years ago and I still miss her terribly. My Mom was a very special person. I still cry when I think of her. Blake Shelton's "The Baby" really pulls my heartstrings.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I lost my mom on 23rd Feb 2011 and I was just Nineteen at that time. She was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer on December 2009. After the surgery she was made really weak with the Chemotherapy and same like your mom she had the same effects.Apart from that she grew more worse as an infection set in her(E.Coli infection). Since she had a bit of high sugar the chemotherapy session exaggerated it and increased the infection. Slowly she grew more weak and was led into coma. She survived the first Sepsis shock but as she got better she again had a second. This time it was fatal. I had lost all hopes. Her kidneys stopped working, body became acidic, metabolism stopped, body swelled like anything, but when everyone declared it was her end she again fought back and this time really improved. She even asked me for a comb, a pen and a notebook though she wasn't able to hold anything. I wasn't able to cry in front of her. After a week she again deteriorated and this was the final attack(total 5 or 6 sepsis attacks). Shen never recovered from it and died a slow death. Each and everyday I saw her different parts failing. This may seem sad to you all but putting up courage and not able to see my friend in such a bad condition which she didn't deserve I asked the doctors boldly to put her off ventilation if there is no hope. She lost her fight :(. I was proud of my mom because she fought all her life and made me learn that too. To fight for your place. This was a bigger battle, a battle with death and she won 5 out of 6 times. I still dream of her. She died on 23rd and on 24th I went to college because after seeing her pain for almost 1 year and staying with her in the hospital and studied alongside her during my High School final exams(class 12 in India). She didn't see me going to my college on the first day :(....She always wished so. She groomed me very well and when my best days came she is not there to cherish me. I am a hardcore atheist but I worship my mom everyday like a person worships a god. To me she was my best friend and my god :D.......She comes in my dream and converses me a lot and that makes me happy and feel special. But when I wake up the reality angers me a lot :(

    ReplyDelete
  36. I m 20 years old . I lost my mom last month on 2,february 2013.due to brain hamreg she lost her life. After than i become very lonly. I love my mom, but she loves my more.
    She was very help ful. Not 4 only me but all of my famly member and relatives . It was very difficult to beilive lost of mom.
    I pray to god . Plz give place in haven to mom.
    She was not only a woman but a godess .
    She spend her life with working and happyness .

    ReplyDelete
  37. Lovely to hear all your words about your parents. I lost my mum when i was 18. 31 years later i still miss her. My sister will not talk about her. Your page has helped me.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I was deeply moved by this post, I feel like you described my entire experience so far to the T, the only real difference being that my mom died from Necrotizing Fasciitis. I'm so profoundly sorry for your loss, I wish more than anything that no one else would have to experience the pain of losing someone, but that's not how life works.

    My mom passed on Oct 15, 2012 at the age of 52, I was 19 at the time (20 now). Her illness was drawn out and absolutely terrible to witness; for the last 6 months of her life she couldn't move from the neck down, couldn't talk due to the ventilator, and was losing her vision. She was the MOST lively person most people ever meet, so to see her like this was the worst thing I could ever imagine. I expected her death to have a lot more of an immediate negative affect on me than it did. At first, I was so relieved that she wasn't suffering anymore and that we weren't playing the Not-Knowing Game that aside from the crying and obvious mourning, I was more at peace than I'd been in a long time. It was only about 3 months after she passed that it started to really have a profound emotional affect on me.

    I feel like I'm a different person now than I was before she passed, not all in a bad way - I've grown a lot as a person. I was in a really dark patch for about 4 months. Thanks to counseling and a really great support system in my personal life, I managed to climb out of that funk and that sick feeling in my stomach only hits me every now and then. There are bad days, but mostly there are just bad moments every so often - times I wish I could call her, little things that catch me off guard. I think about her every day, if my mind is ever not actively engaged in something else, I'm usually thinking about her. But mostly it's happy thoughts and thinking about what she'd be saying if she were here now. A lot of my sadness is for my dad, brother, and our extended family who haven't been able to find the peace that I've found since her death. I know that I'm going to be okay, but I worry the most about them.

    I love to talk about her. One of my favorite quotes is "Death ends a life, but it doesn't end a relationship in the heart of the survivor." It's true. My mom is still just as much my mom as she ever was while she was alive. I miss her terribly but I'm so grateful for the 19 years I had and for the beautiful memories she left me with.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you so much for this. My mother unexpectedly died last month and I am 19. Almost everything here is exactly what's happening to me.

    ReplyDelete